Your request for stories about rural one-room schoolhouses stirred many memories. I experienced the Depression in rural Iowa and not only attended three different rural schools, but taught in rural school for five years. Therefore, selecting one incident to write about is most difficult.
Should I write about the male teacher who led us in most unusual fun activities during lunch hours; the games we played which I’ve never seen played elsewhere; the trauma and challenge of entering a new school; program night; or, from my teaching, the morning I entered the building to find that a thief had been there during the night, or that a tramp had slept in the sand table, or of cardinals eating from a sunflower head fastened on a schoolyard fencepost, of nuthatches walking down the trunk of a tree outside the schoolhouse window, a meadowlark surprised from her nest in the tall grass back of the schoolhouse, or…
Back in 1955 a call went out from the editors of the then Capper’s Weekly asking for readers to send in articles on true pioneers. Hundreds of letters came pouring in from early settlers and their children, many now in their 80s and 90s, and from grandchildren of settlers, all with tales to tell. So many articles were received that a decision was made to create a book, and in 1956, the first My Folks title – My Folks Came in a Covered Wagon – hit the shelves. Nine other books have since been published in the My Folks series, all filled to the brim with true tales from Capper’s readers, and we are proud to make those stories available to our growing online community.